Power Prices, Distributed Generation, Finance, Hydro, Solar, Wind  -  January 14, 2016

Global clean energy investment hit record levels in 2015, BNEF says

Clean energy investment surged in China, Africa, the U.S., Latin America and India in 2015, driving the world total to a record $329.3 billion, up 4% from 2014's revised $315.9 billion, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance's year-end report. 

The figure also beat the previous record for investment, set in 2011, by 3%. 

"These figures are a stunning riposte to all those who expected clean energy investment to stall on falling oil and gas prices," Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in a statement. "They highlight the improving cost-competitiveness of solar and wind power, driven in part by the move by many countries to reverse-auction new capacity rather than providing advantageous tariffs, a shift that has put producers under continuing price pressure."

Liebreich continued:

Wind and solar power are now being adopted in many developing countries as a natural and substantial part of the generation mix: they can be produced more cheaply than often high wholesale power prices; they reduce a country's exposure to expected future fossil fuel prices; and above all they can be built very quickly to meet unfulfilled demand for electricity. And it is very hard to see these trends going backwards, in the light of December's Paris Climate Agreement.

After asset finance, the next largest piece of clean energy investment was on rooftop and other small-scale solar projects. This totaled $67.4 billiob in 2015, up 12% on the previous year, with Japan by far the biggest market, followed by the U.S. and China, BNEF said.

The U.S. was the second-largest clean energy investor after China. The U.S. invested $56 billion, up 8% on the previous year and the strongest figure since the era of the 'green stimulus' policies in 2011. Money-raising yieldcos — publicly traded power plant holding companies   plus solid growth in investment in new solar and wind projects, supported the U.S. total, BNEF said.

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